Chapter 8

"Auror Weasley?  Sir?"

"Hmm?"  Ron blinked and peered curiously at a blurry shape that was bouncing at the edge of his vision.  He rubbed a hand over his eyes and looked at it again.

A house-elf wearing a toga-like outfit stamped with the St. Mungo's emblem perched on his knee, staring at him with huge blue eyes.

"Yes?" said Ron, running a hand back through his short hair.

"Miss Granger is on the Floo, sir.  Madam Bodkin wanted Habry to tell you."

Ron nodded absently and said, "Thank you, er…"  He blinked at the elf again, having not caught its name.  Three years living with Hermione had taught him a few things.

The house-elf looked embarrassed and muttered, "I is Habry, sir."

"Thank you, Habry.  Could you please tell Hermione…I mean, Miss Granger, that I'll be there in a moment?"

Habry bobbed her head happily and chirped, "Yes, sir!  Habry can do that, sir!"  With that she popped out of sight, leaving Ron to choke on the slight cloud of smoke she left.  He coughed heavily as he staggered to his feet and walked over to Harry's bed.

Ginny had been sitting in a chair beside the bed when he had fallen asleep in his own chair.  But when he looked at the chair now, it was empty.

A glance at the bed revealed where she had gone.

Ginny was curled up against Harry's side, which Ron could have thought would have been an impossibility.  But she had done it and looked comfortable.  Her head was pillowed on his chest and the fingers of her left hand were curled into Harry's hospital gown.

After a moment, green eyes flickered open and Harry smiled tightly at Ron.

"You watching us?"

Ron blinked and said, "You're awake.  You okay?"

"No," growled Harry.  "But I'm better."  He looked lovingly down at the redhead curled up against him and Ron saw for a moment the boy he had known.  Then he was gone and the same street hardened Harry reappeared.  "How's the thing with the Ministry going?"

"I've got Hermione on it," replied Ron.  "Speaking of which, she's waiting for me on the Floo.  I'll be right back."

"Sure," said Harry, watching him as he started towards the door.

Ron stopped just before he opened it and said, "Oh, and you'd better wake Gin up.  If a nurse comes in here and sees you two like that, she'll have a conniption fit."

"I've never fully understood what that meant…"

Ron threw a grin over his shoulder and shrugged.

"We're even there then."

Harry gave a chuckle that turned into a cough and waved Ron away.  The redhead nodded slightly and left the room hurriedly.  When he reached the fireplace where Hermione was waiting, the bushy-haired woman immediately began berating him.

"Ronald Weasley!" she snapped in the exact tones his mother used to – and still did – use.  "How dare you leave me on hold!"

"Sorry, Mione," said Ron, running a hand back through his hair nervously.  "I had to check on Harry and Ginny before I left.  Y'know…make sure at least one of them's awake before I left the room.

"Well then that's okay."  Hermione gave him a frown then continued, "I found your information, by the way."

A huge grin broke out over Ron's face and he proclaimed, "That's great!  Can you send it through?"

Hermione smiled and said, "I don't think so.  I'll bring it over myself."


"No but's."  Hermione grinned and finished, "I want to see Harry and Ginny anyway.  Be there in a few!  Ta ta!"

"But, Mione…!" exclaimed Ron, lunging towards the fireplace.

She was already gone.

Cursing under his breath, Ron turned angrily on a heel and stalked back down to Harry's room.

* * * *

A half-hour later, Hermione entered the room that she had been informed Harry was in.  She immediately halted in the doorway and stared at the young woman who was sitting on the edge of the bed, talking rapidly to the figure lying beside her.


The redhead turned towards her and a smile broke over her face.


"Hermione?" said the figure on the bed, lifting their head.  Hermione saw a glimpse of wild dark hair before Ginny enveloped her in a warm hug.

"Oh, Merlin, its good to see you!" exclaimed the redhead.  "How've you been?"

"Fine," stammered Hermione, staring at the younger woman.  This was supposed to be the Virginia Weasley that had been wreaking havoc with Harry in London?

The figure on the bed seemed to sense her thoughts and said, "Don't let her fool you, Hermie.  She may seem normal but she's quite a dangerous woman."

Ginny turned to look at the figure on the bed and said, "Oh, you're one to talk."

"I am, aren't I?"

Hermione blinked and peered over Hermione's shoulder at the figure on the bed.

"Harry?  Is that you?"

Harry grinned and said, "That would be me.  Do I look weird?  Or maybe grew another head without knowing it?"

Hermione laughed as he turned his head from side to side and said, "No, you didn't.  It's just…you don't look like I remember you."

"Oh, really?" said Harry with a laugh.  "I suppose you remember a scrawny boy with thick black glasses who got into too much trouble for his own good."

Ginny chuckled and walked back over to the bed, hopping up onto the end of it.  She leaned back onto his legs, slapping one as she said, "You're still scrawny.  And get into too much trouble for your own good."

"Hey, you're one to talk."

"Heh.  I've been counting.  To this day, you outnumber me by thirty-four."

Harry groaned, "Please don't tell me you're counting my run-in's with Voldemort."

Ginny smiled at him and said, "Sorry, love."

"S'alright.  Maybe you should count yours too."

"Okay.  Thirty-three then."

"Uh-huh.  Last battle.  I believe I remember some insane little redhead leaping on top of me so a certain Dark Lord wouldn't run me through."

"Oh.  I forgot about that."

"Probably because you got the hilt of said sword slammed into the back of your head a second later."

Ginny smiled slightly and turned to look at Hermione, who was watching the two of them with a slightly agape expression on her face.

"What?" asked Harry and Ginny at the same time.

Hermione just shook her head and replied, "You two don't seem like the duo that most of Scotland Yard and half of the Aurors are afraid of."

Harry just grinned and said, "You should see us when we start work."

Hermione blinked then looked around the room with a frown.

"Where's Ron?"

"Coffee break," chorused Harry and Ginny.

Hermione rolled her eyes and muttered, "I never should have introduced him to that."

"What do you want him for?" asked Ginny.

"I found what he was looking for."

Ginny's eyes lit up.

"A way to keep Harry away from the Ministry?  It took you half a day to find it?"

"This is Hermione, love," said Harry, smiling fondly at Ginny.  He tried to sit up but winced painfully and ceased the motion.  "So, how are we planning to keep the Ministry away from me?"

Hermione smiled and replied, "They can only keep you in custody if the Death Eater's bodies were killed by magical means.  Otherwise they have no say in the matter."

"Well they could easily fake that!" exclaimed Ginny.  "We've got to have something more concrete than that."

"I know.  We may only have one choice."

"What's that?" asked Harry.

"Smuggling you out of here."

Ginny and Harry both blinked owlishly at her.

"Did you just say what I think you did?" gasped Ginny.

"She did," murmured Harry.  "Hermione Granger, the most rule-abiding soul I have ever known, just suggested smuggling me out of St. Mungo's."

"I never thought I'd live to see it…"

"Oh shut up, the both of you," snapped Hermione, a note of laughter in her voice.  "I'm going to go find Ron and tell him.  Will you two…"

"Be okay?" said Ginny.  "Sure."

Hermione nodded and left the room, leaving the two alone.  Ginny sank slowly down onto the bed and closed her eyes as her left hand snaked out to grasp Harry's right.

"Why can't everything just be like it was before?" she whispered.  "Why can't they leave us alone?"

"The wizarding world or the Death Eaters?" asked Harry.


"I wish they would," mumbled Harry.  "They've fucked up my life enough as is.  And yours.  But they won't leave us alone."

"What are we going to do?" asked Ginny, laying down beside him.  Harry curled his arm about her waist and turned his head to press a kiss into her hair.

"I'd say shoot them but that wouldn't help matters much."  Harry sighed and closed his eyes, breathing in the familiar scent of the woman beside him.  "We'll figure something out, love, don't worry."

"I'm not," whispered Ginny, leaning into his embrace.